5Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God,
6who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free;
8the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
9The LORD watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the LORD!
- Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
- Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
- As you inhale say, “Praise the Lord!”
- As you exhale say, “Praise the Lord, O my soul!”
- Continue this exercise and notice how your body desires to praise the Lord.
- Where do you feel freedom?
- Is there any tension you need to let go?
- Recognize the tension. Offer praise to God through this place in you.
- Name the ways the Lord sets you free.
- Name the ways the Lord feeds you.
- Name the ways the Lord opens your eyes to see.
- Name the ways the Lord embraces the stranger, the widow, the orphan in you.
- What praises arise within you?
- Offer these to the Lord.
- Savor these praises. Keep them on your tongue that you might lift these praises again and again throughout the day.
- Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
- Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, December 15, 2019, the Third Sunday of Advent (Year A)
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings. (c) 2019 The Rev. Dr. Lil Smith, DASD
Rev. Dr. Lil Smith is a trained spiritual director, supervisor, and co-founder of Retreat House Spirituality Center in Richardson, TX. Upon completion of her spiritual direction certification, Lil began Praying the Lectionary in 2011 as a spiritual practice for her morning prayer time. Instead of reading about someone else’s experience of God, it was important for her to create a prayer practice that would encourage felt sense experience of the Holy emerging from within. It dawned on her others might enjoy the practice, as well. So she began to share them on this site.
As you experience the practice of Praying the Lectionary, adopt a loving, caring, and compassionate stance. If the end of your prayer and meditation time is not pointing to love and hope, there is more work to do. Keep wrestling. God is faithful to your journey. Love and hope will emerge. Be gentle with yourself and befriend any judgment that arises in you.